#GuideDogDiaries Day 2
I spent my first full day and night with Ida. She slept in the hotel room with me; her own bed set up at the other end.
After her anxiety and whining in the day I was wary that she might be unsettled and not sleep.
I was pleasantly surprised, she crashed out before I did!
I had a nice alarm in the form of her barking at something around 06:40 this morning.
It wasn’t an incessant barking so I left her to it so-to-speak. She isn’t even 2 yet and this was her first night alone with me, with lots of busy sounds going on around her I was pleased she was relaxed.
I took her to the toilet and when we came back in I started getting myself ready for the day.
Mikyla said that we should busy ourselves after spending our dogs, this way they do not expect food as soon as you walk in the door.
When feeding your Guide Dog it is good practise to hold the bowl high out of reach and repeat leave it while you are sorting it. This way your dog knows not to try and interfere when you are preparing their food.
Ida is a little fatty when it comes to food….. I should have taken this into consideration when I placed her bowl down, asked her to wait and lent over to grab the whistle.
The guzzle chops ignored me completely and dived straight in!
I had to grab her by the collar and pull her back… All the while the little monkey was crunching her food in her mouth and delightedly wagging her tail.
As they say: school boy error.
I corrected her behaviour by making her sit,and wait as I held onto her collar. Once she had settled down I gave her permission to eat by blowing my whistle 3 short sharp times.
At breakfast I explained the situation to Mikyla and she suggested coming back to the room after obedience training to be my support in getting Ida settled so I could try food obedience.
Adam and I did obedience training with our dogs together out in the corridor..
Our dogs’ are actually best friends; they were born on the same day, but, from different litters. Their puppy walkers lived very close together, so as little puppies they were taken from the breeding centre together and homed.
They have also been together for the last 12 weeks in kennels, the car and training together.
So having them deliberately being in each others space but on the gentle leaders a good training experience for them.
The training was also good for us as owners because we can see what our dogs’ would be like coming into contact with other dogs outside.
It was really interesting watching them eye each other but having to ignore each other because they were on their leads and because we were giving the verbal instruction of leave it.
There was definitely a few naughty moments which turned out to be quite funny.
The closer Ida and Hope got to each other, the more excited they got. We were specifically instructed to have them lie down facing each other, and got them closer and closer.
Ida got a little overexcited; she sat and lay nicely but started commando crawling towards Hope. I had to get her to sit up and lie back down.
At this point Ida thought it would be a great idea to roll onto her back and wriggle about.
Through Mikyla’s instruction I had to get her to sit up and repeat the process again… Unfortunately Ida carried on with her little game twice more, I really couldn’t help but laugh… Which intern made my voice far less controlled, giving little madame even more reason to not listen!
Finally I got her settled and we came
back to my room and ran through food obedience.
I put a tiny bit of food in her bowl but this time I had the whistle to hand and put my back to Ida as I placed the bowl on the floor. Making sure I asked her to sit, wait, and then gave her permission to eat.
Having Mikyla there as back up,, and, blocking Ida’s path to her bowl, really helped me control the situation. Thankfully she was much more responsive and got big praise for doing the right thing the 2nd and 3rd time around. 🙂
We went out for our first walk together with Ida on harness. I was super impressed with Ida’s guiding; since breaking my leg my walking has been disjointed which means I can sometimes walk quite wide of the harness. Thankfully this did not seem to phase Ida, and she even slowed down naturally when the pavement was more uneven.
She walked me around a block of terraced houses; this included always walking in the middle of the path, avoiding street furniture, guiding me around people and taking me to the road crossings.
In the afternoon we did the same route but in reverse, not only was I more confident but I was in considerably less pain. This made our walk together much smoother and faster. Mikyla commented on how well I walked with Ida on harness and how fluid the second walk was.
It’s really nice to hear some positive feedback from Mikyla, it gives me more confidence to know that i’m doing the right thing.
I’m very happy to report that Ida was so well behaved at dinnertime; having the whistle already around my neck, blocking her path with my back made a whole lot of difference.
This time she sat nicely, even after I moved away from her bowl I continued to make her wait, just to make sure she would not dive for her food like she had done in the morning.
She did not move, and only did after I blew the whistle 3 times.
I’m really pleased with myself for controlling the situation properly this time, but especially to Ida for listening and doing as she was told!
Things i’ve learned.
- Always correct your dog when they don’t listen/ get overexcited.
This is good practise for her obedience and your bond together.
- Up sit: means to get the dog sitting , from the lying down position.
- Guide Dogs are taught to walk in straight lines so you need to give them the command to turn left or right.
- How to groom her: Ida has a number of different brushes to be used during grooming.
- Using the lead when grooming your Guide Dog gives you more control of where they are and what they are doing as you are brushing them.
- Ida looks like a frog when she lies down. She spreads her hind legs wide. It is very cute!
- Ida reverses her backside to me when she wants a fuss.
- Her tail never stops wagging 🙂
I’ve absolutely loved having her with me all day; we’ve had lots of down time and she gets lots of praise for behaving and following through with my commands.
I’m excited to say that we are definitely bonding and she enjoys my company 🙂
Looking forward to checking in tomorrow! 🙂